- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 26, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said the number of coronavirus-related deaths in his state is now at least 385, up from 285 deaths he had reported on Wednesday.

The number of hospitalizations in the state — 5,327 — also surged by 40% compared to the figure Mr. Cuomo had reported a day earlier, when he had cited projections showing the rate of hospitalization increases was slowing.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat the situation,” Mr. Cuomo said at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak in his state.

He said experts expect the number of coronavirus-related deaths to continue to increase, saying there are cases where infected patients are now on ventilators for 20-30 days, up from a range of 11-21 days, and that chances of survival decrease the longer that people are on ventilators.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in New York now tops 37,200 — easily the most in the country. There were more than 75,000 positive coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths as of Thursday.

Mr. Cuomo is among a number of governors who put severe restrictions on public gatherings, order nonessential employees to stay at home, and shutter bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

He said there is enough personal protective equipment to meet immediate needs, but that capacity will still almost certainly overwhelm the state hospital system.

“You cannot get the curve down low enough so that you don’t overwhelm the hospital capacity,” he said. “Almost any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the current health care system.”

He has estimated that the state could need 140,000 hospital beds to deal with the outbreak. The current capacity is around 53,000, though there are makeshift hospitals being set up in concert with the federal government to try to free up more space.

A day earlier, Mr. Cuomo had said that on Sunday, projected hospitalizations were doubling every two days, compared to every 3.4 days on Monday and every 4.7 days on Tuesday.

“They don’t know if it’s a deviation in what the hospitals happen to report that day,” he said on Thursday. “They say you get a fluctuation from time to time; don’t look at any one day. Don’t look at any period less than three or four days in sequence. So we’ll just continue to watch [it].”

Mr. Cuomo said that under a “maximum projection,” the state will need 40,000 ventilators and they have about 12,000 on hand. He said they were also exploring ways to convert anesthesia machines into ventilators and potentially use ventilators on more than one patient.

“There’s not a stockpile that is large enough to meet the national need,” he said.

He did say that the outpouring of support for the people of New York has been inspiring, but that Congress dropped the ball on the $2.2 trillion financial rescue package that is expected to clear the House and Senate by the end of the week.

“I’m disappointed,” Mr. Cuomo said. “I find it irresponsible; I find it reckless.”

“The congressional action, in my opinion, simply failed to address the governmental need,” he said.

Mr. Cuomo said the package includes $5 billion for the state, but it’s earmarked only for expenses tied to COVID-19.

As the virus wreaks havoc on the U.S. and state economies, Mr. Cuomo said New York is staring at an estimated revenue loss of between $10 billion and $15 billion at the same time the state is trying to pass a budget.

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